MDC-T treasurer-general Roy Bennett will be sworn in as Deputy Minister of Agriculture alongside six new provincial governors next month, the Zimbabwe Independent learnt this week.
This is contrary to claims that Bennett’s case had been referred to Sadc as one of the outstanding issues of the global political agreement (GPA) after President Robert Mugabe refused to swear him in arguing that he was facing serious terrorism charges.
Gorden Moyo, the Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office, confirmed to the Independent this week that Bennett would take the oath of office alongside five governors from the MDC-T and one from the MDC-M in August.
“Contrary to what some sections of the media have been saying, the issue of the swearing in of Bennett is not an outstanding issue,” Moyo said. “There was an agreement reached on the issue by the three principals and he is likely to be sworn in as deputy minister in August when the new governors are sworn in.”
He said the only outstanding issues of the GPA were the appointment of Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) governor Gideon Gono and Attorney-General Johannes Tomana.
“As far as outstanding issues are concerned we are now left with the Gono and Tomana issue that has been referred to Sadc,” Moyo explained. “Bennett will be sworn in with the new governors and the current governors were allowed to complete one year of service before the new governors are appointed.”
Bennett is facing terrorism charges in that he plotted to procure weapons to overthrow Mugabe’s government.
Bennett was arrested before he could be sworn in along with other deputy ministers in February.
He was released on bail a month latter and since then he has not taken the oath of office despite the fact that he was sworn in as a non-constituency senator upon his release from remand prison.
Bennett will serve as deputy to Joseph Made, who oversaw the country’s chaotic land reform programme and sanctioned the takeover of Bennett’s coffee farm in Chimanimani.
During his time as a member of parliament, Bennett shoved Justice minister Patrick Chinamasa to the floor during a heated parliamentary debate, an episode that led to him being jailed for eight months for the offence.
BY LOUGHTY DUBE